2.5 million gay men in India, 7% have HIV, the government reports

Delhi Supreme Court hearing into the decriminalisation of gay sex continues

2.5 million gay men in India, 7% have HIV, the government reports
14 March 2012

There are 2.5 million gay men in India, 0.2% of the 1.2 billion population , according to figures from the National Aids Council.

The figures were presented to Delhi Supreme Court yesterday in response to an affidavit during the current case re-examining the high court 2009's decriminalisation of gay sex

The court also heard that estimated HIV prevalence among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) is 7%, and is 4% among female sex workers and 10% among injecting drug users.

Naz Foundation, an HIV and AIDS awareness NGO working in India, who campaigned for eight years against Section 377 which criminalised gay sex between two consenting adults, also presented to the court yesterday.

The lawyer representing Naz Foundation, Anand Grover told the court that re-criminalising gay sex will mean that gay men will lead their lives surreptitiously. ‘This population is hidden in the society and they are not available for getting proper health care facilities. There is a greater chance of the transmission of disease among them,’ he said, as reported by DNA India.

Justice GS Singhvi then asked him to support this argument with reports from experts.

On their website Naz Foundation state that they campaigned against Section 377 from 2001 until the court’s decision in 2009 because legislation was an obstacle to their work preventing HIV infection. ‘This act… proved to be one of the most significant barriers in effective HIV/AIDS interventions with sexual minorities,’ they say.

Naz Foundation also say that Section 377 was used by the police and others to harass, extort, blackmail and even rape MSM. The law was also used ‘to restrict gay-related activities and to justify raids on parties and events’.

In 2001, Naz Foundation filed a Public Interest Litigation to challenge Section 377. In 2009 the Delhi High Court pronounced that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code should be read down to exclude consensual sex between adults.

The current hearing in the supreme court was brought against the high court’s decision by various anti-gay and religious groups, whom presented to the court two weeks ago. The case continues.  

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Malaysian LGBT rights activists warn against joining 'smear campaign' parade

Activists suspect a fake LGBT rights march is being publicised to 'demonise' anti-government campaigners
No thumbnail available

Boys banned from graduation over Facebook kiss

Six boys in the Phillipines have been banned from attending their graduation after posting a gay kiss on Facebook
No thumbnail available

Russia's assurances anti-gay laws won’t apply to Winter Olympics has skeptics

HRC's Chad Griffin says 'verbal assurances from the Russian government ... are not enough'
No thumbnail available

Lesbian parents' cry for help to give son life-changing new home

A lesbian couple in Leeds make desperate plea for help to build toddler with severe health problems a new bedroom.
No thumbnail available

Brad Pitt pledges to double every dollar donated to gay marriage

Hollywood actor says he will give up to $100,000 in marriage equality fights in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington
Amber Heard encourages other celebrities to come out

Amber Heard encourages other celebrities to come out

Bisexual actress says: 'I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something you’re inadvertently admitting it’s wrong'
No thumbnail available

Vote on Lithuania’s proposed ‘gay propaganda’ ban bill pushed back again

Lithuanian lawmakers have voted to suspend a vote on a proposal that would ban ‘defilement of the traditional family’ in public spaces until they meet again after the summer break
No thumbnail available

Robbie Williams: ‘I am 49% gay’

Former Take That star has caused controversy for saying that he is half gay because he likes musicals
No thumbnail available

Transgender Kids: 6 lessons the world needs to learn from Louis Theroux's documentary

Louis Theroux’s documentary starring children and their families as they transition can teach us all a thing or two about self-acceptance
No thumbnail available

Former US President George Bush shies away from gay marriage question

When it comes to the recent Defense of Marriage decision and gay marriage, ex-President George Bush keeps opinion private